Clubs, English Premier League, Ilkay Gündogan, Manchester City, Story

While Harry Kane’s injury is a major concern for Tottenham, Craig Burley says it could also be a curveball for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
Craig Burley believes Manchester City would need to have a pair of uncharacteristically poor performances for Tottenham to reach the UCL semis.

MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola has rejected Ilkay Gundogan‘s claims that Manchester City lost to Tottenham Hotspur because they were “nervous.”

The City midfielder told reporters that he and his teammates were “not brave enough” after City’s 1-0 defeat in the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Gundogan had told Sky Deutschland: “We were not brave enough in the game and we made a lot of simple mistakes. I have the feeling we are nervous in important Champions League games. We always make the wrong decisions.”

But Guardiola said his side were strong despite the first leg setback.

“I don’t agree with him, absolutely not,” the City boss told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace. “There are games when we concede a goal and we are not there but in this case we conceded a goal and nothing happened.

“Especially in the second half it was under control. We didn’t concede many shots on target and we were there many times — even if we didn’t create too much. After we conceded a goal, in other games, that is true.

“Of course we want to do well, especially in the Champions League but in that case in this specific game I don’t think I agree.”

Bernardo Silva and Oleksander Zinchenko both missed the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with minor injuries but both are in contention to face Palace.

City cannot afford any slip-ups with Liverpool two points clear at the top of the table — and Guardiola said he is not concerned about the pressure growing on his players as they fight for the Quadruple.

“We have been incredible for 20 months,” he added. “We lost two games in the last 23 matches.

“I know how difficult the Champions League is away against Tottenham and we made a good performance. I reviewed the game yesterday and sometimes I have the feeling that I was wrong at the time but I had a similar feeling.

“We tried to do what we spoke about.”

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